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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

Back after a long while

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  #1  
Old 02-21-2010, 03:51 PM
The_Leena The_Leena is offline
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Back after a long while

Naturally, I need some feedback. But I'm aware of uneven skin tones and the nose job is a little messed up. Going to fix it later. But for now, what else could be improved?
Before: http://a3.vox.com/6a01240b832724860e0123ddfeb32b860c-pi
After:http://a1.vox.com/6a01240b832724860e0123dde9c7d9860b-pi

Please, comment.
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:14 PM
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PeterWright PeterWright is offline
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Re: Back after a long while

Looks good - her right eye does not look natural to me when you do a quick comparison.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:56 AM
The_Leena The_Leena is offline
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Re: Back after a long while

But the right eye from our perspective, or her own right eye?
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:24 AM
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holgaman holgaman is offline
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Re: Back after a long while

Hi Leena,
I'm not much of a retouching expert, I'm basically learning some of these skills to help me with other areas of Photoshop work. Just my impressions, take them with a grain of salt. I haven't seen these images on my 'real' monitor, just using my laptop at home which isn't as well calibrated, but the skin tones might be a bit on the red side. The skin looks great, not a whole lot of texture there to begin with, but you didn't lose any of what was there. Some of the blotches still there are minor and can be taken care of easily. I noticed that her right eye (viewer's left) was a little more closed also and used the liquify tool to open it up just a bit. I think you went a little too far in making the eye larger, maybe somewhere in between. I messed with the nose, and brought in the sides of the face a bit. I also straightened the jawline on both sides, not sure if that really needed to be done, or if this is an improvement. Your thoughts?

To my taste (add a few extra grains of salt here, and keep a salt shaker handy) it seems a little severe over all in the shadows, not a lot, but I mostly noticed it around the outer corners of the eyes. I think that would have worked better if her features were a bit more severe. My whole goal when I approach something like this is the overall feeling I want to achieve (which often changes as I work on something), so I begin by just looking at the basic elements - the lighting here is fairly soft, not far off camera. Her face is somewhat rounded with soft features, and her expression is pretty quiet, so I wanted to keep the over all effect somewhat less dramatic. When I was pretty much satisfied with the retouching part, it still seemed to lack some spark (most likely from my lack of skill), so I added the flare from the back. Technically, it's dumb because there should be backlighting on her hair and shoulders, but rules, schmules, I'm just playing here and only found out recently about the (purported) existence of some sort of box you're supposed to think inside, or outside, I can't remember. At the very end I added a bit of a color shift by filling a blank layer with a dark cyan (00122c), and set the blend mode to exclusion. Then I duplicated the bottom layer and moved it to the top and set the blend mode to luminosity and then brought back the transparency on the color layer to 70%.

So much of this stuff is personal taste and everybody is different, which is good. I'd love to hear your comments on any of this, or on my version of the portrait, good or bad. Would also love to see more of your work.
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File Type: jpg MyTake.jpg (96.3 KB, 25 views)
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:33 AM
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holgaman holgaman is offline
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Re: Back after a long while

Oops, forgot about the bottom lip. Seemed a bit out of proportion with the upper lip so I thinned it down.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:49 AM
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_Steve_ _Steve_ is offline
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Re: Back after a long while

Hey, nice one..

I miss the eyes...i've chk'ed the image several times...but i miss a gentle spark in the eyes..but guess thats a personal refrence..
other than that, skintone, and i would love too see more hairtones..
I see some redness in her eyes?..could be my screen tho, but i got this "sleepsness" feeling??....again, personal refrence..
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:59 AM
The_Leena The_Leena is offline
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Re: Back after a long while

Thank you very very much for such an elaborate feedback. But I am bound to discard some of your comments. First of all, as I stated in the first post, I am perfectly aware of the skin tone imperfections and I will take care of them later on. Second of all, I appreciate your pointing out what is wrong with the eye. I really couldn't see it. Third of all, despite not being sure what to do with the shadows, I certainly wasn't going for such a "fake doll" effect you achieved in your retouch. Look closely at the original image, however pretty the girl is, her jaw line, nose, lips as well as chin are far from straight, even or symmetrical, but straightening them as much as you did would be a falsehood.
And to end with, would you be so kind and explain how you chieved this flare light? I was trying do it several times but each time I wasn't happy with the result.
Thanks again for your reply. ASAP I will improve the photo.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:08 PM
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holgaman holgaman is offline
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Re: Back after a long while

Hi Leena,
Thanks for your feedback. I wasn't trying to go for the fake doll look, but sometimes I get carried away on the dodge and burn and need to step back and/or have some fresh eyes look at it. My inexperience showing through. You're right about changing the jawline and nose not being 'her'. You narrowed her face a fair amount, so it's a matter of taste (and the goal/final usage), as what should or shouldn't be changed and to what extent. I'm really just in the exploring/trial and error phase with that sort of thing. I wasn't going for an agency comp look, in which that would be absolutely forbidden, just wanted to see where it could be taken with no rules or limitations. I do now think her original jawline looks better than what I did. Tried to fix something that didn't need fixing. Thanks for making me see that. If this were destined for a fashion magazine cover, the client probably would have specified those changes (at least on a model, but not on a celebrity). In what situation that is considered OK or not, is a huge topic by itself.

The flare was done on a blank layer set to normal. Just used a big white brush and painted in along the top and even into her forehead a little. I then applied gaussian blur set at 250 two or three times, it just depends on how defined you want the bright area. I thought this grayed down the lightest area too much so I applied a 105 prime lens flare and masked out the little colored aberrations that ended up on her face. The yellow color came from the cyan colorizing layer I mentioned at the end of my first post.
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